Kai’s ‘Rover’ | Album Review

EXO fans lose their minds at Kai’s new solo album, Rover! EXO is a South Korean-Chinese boy band that debuted in 2012. As of 2023, the group consists of 9 members. Kim-Jong In, also known as Kai, was made the first member of EXO in 2011. Each member has done at least a few solo projects over the last decade. But Kai is new to the game, having only released his first mini album, KAI, in 2020.

Rover is his third mini-album, coming two years after his 2021 EP, ‘Peaches‘. It consists of six tracks and tells a story about the complexities of self-identity, love, and freedom. Each track has its own sensual appeal on the surface. But the lyrics convey a much deeper message.

Let’s see what Rover has to offer!

1. ‘Rover’

The first song shares its name with the album. It’s the most popular out of the six tracks, with the music video reaching over 26 million views on YouTube. The video features eye-catching choreography from the seasoned K-Pop veteran and addicting vocals and beat. But the most notable scenes are when Kai is sorting through a list of names and creating fake IDs throughout the video.

The translated lyrics talk about throwing away one’s old identity in order to experience freedom. In the song, Kai takes on a new identity as “Mr. Rover”. With this name, he becomes a free spirit without caring about what others think. The song is a powerful start to this amazing mini-album.

2. ‘Black Mirror’

‘Black Mirror’ tackles the topic of phone addiction. The translated lyrics paint a very straightforward message as they mention mindless scrolling, overstimulation from constant content, and posting provocative photos on social media. The “black mirror” refers to the user staring back at themselves whenever the screen goes black. The title is also reminiscent of the Netflix TV series, Black Mirror. Much like the song, the show also focuses on society’s dependency on technology.

The tone of the song itself is dark and mysterious. the beginning catches your attention with a background melody and random electric sounds. This paired with the lyrics make for an amazing track and is my favorite in the album.

3. ‘Slidin”

Kai has three love songs in Rover, each one dedicated to a different aspect of love. Simply put, ‘Slidin” it’s a hot and steamy love song. The message explores the overwhelming feeling of falling in love for the first time and intense intimacy. Kai is no stranger to love songs and this track did not disappoint. It’s great to add to your R&B playlist or to set the mood with your partner.

4. ‘Bomba’

‘Bomba’ immediately caught my attention with its unique beat, melody, and lyrics. Kai pulled inspiration for this track from Reggaeton and even incorporates Spanish lyrics. Incorporating Spanish lyrics in K-Pop songs has been done in the past, but it’s not as common as mixing English and Korean lyrics. A great example of all three languages being present is j-hope’s ‘Chicken Noodle Soup‘ featuring Becky G.

‘Bomba’ returns to the topic of freedom and expressing oneself. This time, it’s centered around letting loose and partying, literally and figuratively. Though a bit simpler in its message, it is an overall great track to move along to.

5. ‘Say You Love Me’

‘Say You Love Me’ is the second love song of the album and discusses the feeling of desire. Like ‘Slidin”, Kai returns to his R&B roots with this sensual track. The lyrics depict someone who is desperate for their partner to declare their love. The song is slow, but there’s a sense of urgency in Kai’s voice as he begs his partner for words of affirmation.

6. ‘Sinner’

The third love song and final track, ‘Sinner’, ends the album on a somber note. This track explores the positive and negative feelings of love. It’s a passionate lament about feeling pain and joy at the same time and even if the relationship ends, those feelings will still remain. The lyrics depict Kai as a fallen angel who begs for forgiveness from the person they seem to worship. The intense lyrics paired with Kai’s amazing vocals, synthesizers, and piano make this song a great conclusion to the album.

Final Thoughts

As someone who has been following Kai and his music for a good few years, this mini-album was refreshing to listen to. Initially, I expected it to be another run-of-the-mill K-Pop album with generic songs pumped out by his record label. But he exceeded expectations by experimenting with new concepts and creating a new era for himself.

Here at Mic Drop Music, we want to know your thoughts! What do you think of Rover? How does it compare to his past albums? Let us know in the comments below!

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